Tissue ‘scaffold’ technology could assist in rebuilding large organs
‘Scaffold’ technology is the new tissue that scientists have developed that will enable the engineering of large organs. This research was led by the Universities of Bristol and Liverpool and it has shown that it is possible for cells to combine with a special scaffold to produce living tissue in the laboratory. Hopefully, this can be implanted to patients as a way of replacing the diseased parts/organs of the body. To this date, the approach is limited to growing small pieces of tissue, as larger dimensions reduce the oxygen supply to cells in the centre.
Dr. Adam Perriman led a team of researchers from the University of Bristol together with Professor Anthony Hollander from the University of Liverpool in using cartilage tissue engineering as a model system for testing new method of overcoming the oxygen limitation problem.
They incorporated a new class of artificial membrane binding proteins that can be attached to stem cells. They attached an oxygen-carrying protein, myoglobin, to the stem cells before they are used to engineer cartilage. They ensure that each cell will have its own oxygen reservoir that it can access when the oxygen in the scaffold drops to dangerously low levels.
Dr. Perriman found out that from their preliminary experiments that they could produce these artificial membrane binding proteins and paint the cells without affecting their biological function.
They were however surprised and delighted to discover that they could deliver the necessary quantity to the cells to supplement their oxygen requirements.
Their team’s findings was published June 17 in Nature Communications could really expand the possibilities in tissue engineering, not only in cartilage, but also for other tissues like cardiac muscle or bone.
Professor Hollander said that they have already shown that stem cells can help create parts of the body that can be successfully transplanted into patients and now they have found a way making their success even better.
A huge challenge is growing large organs but with the recent technology, this can be overcome. To create larger pieces of cartilage gives a possible way of repairing some of the worst damage to human joint tissue, such as the weakening changes seen in hips or knee osteoarthritis or severe knee injuries caused by major trauma- road traffic accidents or injuries incurred in war.
Their new methodology, to describe the conversion of a normal protein into membrane binding protein, is likely to pave way in the development of a wide range of new biotechnologies.
Development of a method of creating cartilage cells from stem cells is Professor Hollander’s pioneering work. This has helped making it possible for the first successful transplant of a tissue-engineered trachea by utilizing patient’s own stem cells.
Dr. Perriman on the other hand, is an EPSRC Early Career Research Fellow and faculty member in the School of Cellular and Molecular Medicine at the University of Bristol. His pioneering research on the construction and study of novel synthetic bio molecular systems is one of his distinguished research.
References 1.Tissue ‘scaffold’ technology could help rebuild large organs http://www.bristol.ac.uk